It’s go time! Your marketing campaigns have paid off and you’ve been inundated with fresh leads to hopefully turn into sales. That last part hinges on your ability to strategically and effectively follow up on those leads without letting any fall by the wayside or scare them off by coming on too strongly. Take a few of these tips for how to follow up with leads and increase your odds of turning them into repeat customers.
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Each type of lead will require a different level of messaging. Depending on how the lead came to you, it may be hot and ready to close or may need a bit of warming. For example, a lead that comes to you by way of an email opt-in campaign as opposed to a lead that filled out a ‘contact me’ form on your webpage are at different points in the sales funnel and should be approached accordingly.
Organize the leads into at least three groups: Hot, warm, and cold. Seems a bit remedial, but trust us, you’ll want to take note of the leads’ temperatures so that you don’t treat them like one size fits all. If you’re interested in doing a more robust lead scoring initiative, there are software programs available which will separate your leads based on point values you assign to various consumer behaviors. Move leads from group to group as you get to know them better and move them closer to becoming a paying client.
First things first. Take a look at your existing resources like your blog, newsletters, promos, website, social media posts, events, etc. and decide which of these would be most useful to your leads at each stage. There’s no point in recreating the wheel if you’ve already produced quality marketing collateral.
Next, fill in the gaps and create original content and follow up strategies to push out to your leads in a more targeted fashion. Some gold standard followup tactics are:
Arrange for a ‘thank you’ email or phone call to be made within 12-24 hours after a lead comes in. Offer to answer any questions they may have to demonstrate the care and attention you provide to each customer.
Personalize your correspondence by including the recipient’s name in your emails, sending them information based on the pages visited on your website, or responding personally to an online inquiry instead of pushing canned responses.
Leads have a preferred way of communicating and quite frankly, you have no idea what that is at this point. Use social media, email, snail mail, and phone calls to connect with potential clients.
We don’t mean to reach out directly using every single communication tool you have! Just be sure that you’re readily available no matter your lead’s preferred medium. So, respond to social media messages quickly, answer your phone and return calls promptly and check your inbox.
Remember, it typically requires 7-10 touches before a conversion happens. Creating a follow-up schedule will ensure you remain consistent with your communications and prevent you from letting the leads you worked so hard to attain fall through the cracks. Your communications calendar should aim to keep you top of mind with your leads but not become a nuisance.
A good rule of thumb:
• Emails: once per week
• Phone calls: once per month
• Face to face: once per quarter
Anything more than that and you run the risk of getting the brush off.
If you have a CRM (contact/customer relation management) system, you’re way ahead of the game. CRM’s allow you to keep record of all customer outreach and the results of those communications. If you don’t have a CRM, no worries – that’s what Excel is for! Simply create a spreadsheet which includes your prospects contact information and notes regarding the dates and methods used to nurture those leads.
Qualifying your leads is a very important step and should be done as early as possible. Don’t get trigger happy and abandon leads because they may take a bit of work to close, but be smart about what you’re chasing down. Three qualifying categories to consider:
Do they have the means to make a purchase?
Are they motivated?
Are they the decision maker?
If you discover they’re not qualified at this time, don’t toss their info! Put them in a ‘to be followed up with later’ file and create a campaign to target those leads which you’ve put on the back burner down the road when their circumstances may have changed.
Lead prospecting is all about remaining in front of your clients without getting on their bad side … a sort of omnipresence, if you will. Your goal shouldn’t necessarily be to convince them to buy, but rather to be there when they’re ready to buy. This type of reliability bodes well for your brand and makes those leads feel respected and valued. What better way to cultivate your customer base than that?!